The hardest moments in this journey are not the ones when my soul is breaking. The hardest moments are seeing my ladies hearts and souls breaking. Many times in the past few years I have heard the most deep and full sobs from my girls. It is a tangible hurt to your soul to console this hurt in them. The broken and empty and full and heavy sob is our reality. I had never in my life heard or felt the cries I have heard and hugged in the past few years.
Sometimes I know it is coming, more so in Amelia. She will have several days of tantrums, that her doctor and others would describe as normal. Her tantrums are different, always have been. After a week of these meltdowns and tantrums she will just drop. Her weight is so different, her shoulders are slumped, her head is heavy. Her body is just there and she sobs with her whole body. She can not talk, she can not tell me right then what is broken, what hurts or what I can do. I just hold her. Imagine feeling the loss of Amelia and Lucy… to have lost their best friend, their little momma- their big sister. I can’t imagine how much that hurts, so I just hold. These moments are to be honored, for she felt safe enough to let it go and break next to me. I hold these moments in a little box to remember when it is hard – that this job is big and important and they need me.
Last week my youngest lovely was in the recliner in the living room while I was working on costumes. Amelia came outside and said Lucy is crying mom, crying in the chair. I finished my spray painting really quick and headed in. She was sitting in the chair with our family picture crying, a sad and heavy sob feeling all of her sad. I lifted her up and got into the chair to snuggle and she cried and chatted. She said that she missed our family, she missed Madeline and she missed when daddy came home. I felt so sad for all the piles of hard that she has been through and still will. I felt sad for all the heavy crying she had to do to feel it all. She felt like a little tiny baby… who needed me to wrap her up in my arms. I told her to keep that picture. I told her that her sister was in heaven, that Madeline was ok and loved her very much. I told her that I did not chose the way our family looks, but she has a mommy who loves her and a daddy who loves her. She has family and a brother and so much to love.
She said to me “Mommy Madeline had such a short life”. It sits in my brain how profound that is coming from a 6 year old. Lucy has already outlived her sister, she completed kindergarten and is in first grade. It feels like she knows that Madeline should have had longer, like Aunt Jane. She sees the bits and pieces that were supposed to include Madeline, as far as she can see. I see missing proms and weddings and slumber parties… she sees never running into Madeline at school, never seeing her grow and have birthdays. Lucy sees the depth of this loss more tangibly than anyone else I have ever met. It isn’t just those words that hit and stuck, it is common for her to bring Madeline into conversations and speak about missing her. This morning we were talking about how her PE teacher had had a death in her family, and what to say. I said you could say ‘I am sorry for your loss’- but Lucy doesn’t understand sorry to be like that. She disagreed, I told her just acknowledging her teachers loss in the best way and words for her is enough. She was worried it would hurt her teacher and make her sad, I asked her if it made her feel sad when people spoke about Madeline. She thought for a moment and said only when they ask me ‘Which of my sister’s died?’ then I know they don’t know Madeline. I told her that is hard when some don’t know her. I told her hugging and remembering with someone is special, more special than not remembering or not sharing.
I never thought my life would include so much talk of death and grief and loss… I never thought I would have such amazing and real girls. I am so honored that I can hug them in those moments and remind them that they are loved, safe and worthy… that their sad needs to be felt. I hate those moments and love them. There is something in the pain though. This pain brings us back to the family the way it was, with my lovely and our whole dinner table.
I assure my daughters and my friends to feel valid in their feelings, they need to be felt. In these moments allowing my daughter’s to feel that heavy and sad and painful moment is a need. Feeling pain and joy and love and broken and happy are all valid to feel at that moment, even if someone else is feeling something else. In our moments of pain or joy we don’t need to compare to someone else in their joy or pain, just feel ours in those moments. These feelings and getting through these moments help us enjoy, breathe, remember, change, grow, run, build, break and live.